Nearly $1 Billion Owed to Non-Filers

Three-year Window to Claim 2009 Refunds Expires April 15

The IRS is sitting on nearly $1 billion in unclaimed refunds, and taxpayers are running out of time to get their hard-earned money back.

During 2009, when unemployment was high and many people couldn’t pay a tax professional to prepare their returns, a lot of people just decided not to file their taxes at all. Now, about a million non-filers from 2009 are owed a collective $917 million.

The IRS is trying to get the word out about the unclaimed funds, but taxpayers only have a limited time left to stake their claim. Most of the refunds are more than $500.

If you’re owed a refund from 2009 but didn’t file that year, you have until April 15, 2013 to file. There’s no penalty for claiming a refund three years late (that’s the period of time you have to claim it before Uncle Sam keeps it), but you’ll see a delay if you didn’t file your taxes for 2010 and 2011.

On top of the unemployed, some 2009 non-filers didn’t file because their income wasn’t high enough to require filing. But if you pay federal payroll taxes then it’s possible you’re entitled to a refund.

Those owed a refund – but who didn’t file their 2009 taxes – range from all corners of the U.S. California alone is home to more than ten percent of them at 107,000. About 86,000 people in Texas are owed refunds.

Taxes are perceived as complicated and as a hassle, and some people choose not to file their tax forms at all. But the consequences for not filing your taxes range from a wage garnishment to a bank levy or worse. Add the penalties and interest and the amount owed can skyrocket in no time.

But a tax professional can help you navigate your finances from a messy tax situation to a possible positive resolution. That can be a reduced balance  to hidden refunds that you never thought you were owed.

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